Pierre Vermeulen

b. 1992, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Pierre Vermeulen’s practice is primarily based around the principles of balance and introspection. His use of non-traditional mediums like gold leaf, human hair and body fluids offer viewers a glimpse of his deep regard for what he terms “a cycle of growth and loss – and through this revolution – the acceptance of what is imperfect”.

In Vermeulen’s Sweat Print series, he manipulates the oxidisable surface of gold leaf to create impressions of his own body, using sweat, curled on the canvas in vulnerable positions. The reflective lustre of the surface, interspersed with the tenuous corrosion of limbs, confronts the dichotomy between both the presence and the absence of the artist, and thus by association the viewer’s too. What Vermeulen’s work allegorically illustrates is the boundary between a grid of acceptable and unacceptable values. Seen as an axiological issue, the meaning of the image is not the image itself but the relationship that the viewer establishes with it.


After obtaining a Bachelor of Art in Fine Art from the University of Stellenbosch in 2015, Vermeulen has been working as a multimedia and installation artist, and is included in major collections such as the newly opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Most recently, Vermeulen’s work was presented as part of SMAC Gallery’s booth at the Joburg Art Fair in Johannesburg, South Africa. His second solo show, entitled Of itself, is currently up on exhibition at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg; and he is presenting a solo booth with SMAC Gallery at ARTISSIMA in Turin, Italy. Vermeulen’s work is also set to be included in the upcoming exhibition, Forward! Forward? Forward…, at the Stellenbosch University Museum in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Since joining SMAC in 2017, Vermeulen has presented his first solo exhibition in Cape Town, as well as a site-specific installation at the Association for the Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, titled Sweat Prints, in June 2017.

Group exhibitions include Pentimenti – a Woordfees exhibition based on the work of Louis Jansen Van Vuuren at the Sasol Art Museum in Stellenbosch in 2013; Portretteer/Portraiture at Oude Libertas gallery, Stellenbosch in 2015; Restore at GUS, Stellenbosch, in 2016; Folly at SMITH in Cape Town in 2017. Vermeulen’s work was included in SMAC Gallery’s presentation at the Cape Town Art Fair, FNB Joburg Art Fair and the 12 Edition of Contemporary Istanbul, all in 2017.

Notably in 2016, Vermeulen’s Untitled Sweat Print 1 was commissioned by the Zeitz Collection – a major six-panel work created for site-specific hanging in Gordon house, London. His work forms part of other prominent collections such as The Royal Portfolio Collection, housed at the Silo Hotel, in Cape Town, South Africa and the M&C Saatchi Abel Collection, in South Africa. Vermeulen was selected as a finalist in the Sasol New Signatures Award, both in 2015 and 2016.


Pierre Vermeulen will be participating in the Stellenbosch University’s Centenary Exhibition entitled Forward? Forward ! Forward … This exhibition is a future-oriented centenary exhibition of 100 artworks depicting the future of Stellenbosch University and higher education in Africa. Forward? Forward! Forward… will be held at the University Museum opening on 5 December 2018 until 30 April 2019.